Gone are the days when sleeping in the wild means braving gale-force winds with nothing but a canvas tent for comfort. Thanks to the rising popularity of glamping – aka ‘glamorous camping’ – we can all look forward to a more luxurious kind of outdoor experience. These days you could be perched in the treetops with your very own private deck or cosying up by a fire in a charmingly rural shepherds’ hut. Whatever takes your fancy, we’re confident you’ll love each of the following glamping experiences…
It’s not every day you find yourself soaking in a private hot tub high up in the branches of an ancient oak tree. Then again, it’s rare to find treehouses as luxurious as those on offer at Mallinson’s Woodland Retreat. This one-of-a-kind glamping hotspot is the brainchild of Guy Mallinson, known to many as the “wood mentor” from BBC2’s Mastercrafts. It’s an adults-only campsite boasting three incredible treehouses – Dazzle, The Woodsman and Pinwheel – as well as a selection of luxury yurts, a tipi, a shepherd’s hut, and a bell tent.
Each of these unique architectural marvels offers the ultimate escape for couples, but our favourite has to be Woodsman’s Treehouse. To reach this treetop chalet, you wander down a pier-like boardwalk and across a rope bridge. At its heart lies a central, circular room with a rotating wood burner, around which you’ll find a kitchen, a king-sized bed, and copper roll- top bath. Inside and out, it’s an incredible feat of sustainable craftsmanship. Treehouses have never felt this chic.
Maverick tip: While there are plenty of pubs and restaurants within a short drive of the retreat, why not take advantage of your own private wood-fired pizza oven? The on-site honesty shop stocks pizza dough along with wine and local cider.
Situated on a working Dorset farm, The Bide Cabin is an architectural delight constructed using sustainable, eco-friendly building practices. This inviting space offers total seclusion from the outside world, whether you’re stargazing from the wood fired hot tub or enjoying long lie-ins in its luxurious super-king size bed.
No detail is too small at The Bide Cabin. The picture window is your own widescreen to nature, but should you wish to watch your favourite movie, there’s an in-house cinema screen that’s perfect for chilly evenings. Get the fire pit started for a spot of al fresco cooking or pack your walking boots to immerse yourself in the natural scenery. The farm is surrounded by beautiful pastures and there’s a woodland coppice on the doorstep for exploring. It’s also a 45-minute walk to nearby Milton Abbas, a picturesque village famous for its quaint thatched cottages and the beautiful Milton Abbey.
Maverick tip: There’s a curated bookshelf that features everything from Dorset’s finest Hardy to inspiring travel tales. We suggest purchasing a paperback to take home, so you can prolong your holiday experience.
Aller Dorset takes the humble shepherds’ hut to the next level, offering two luxury retreats in the heart of the countryside. Both of their individually styled huts – Littledown and Links – overlook a private lake and are kitted out with everything you could need for a relaxing rural getaway. Owners Cat and Ant are responsible for the stylish interiors at Aller Dorset. Both huts are furnished to a very high standard and include fully-equipped kitchens and comfortable bathrooms. No detail is too small. Beautiful handmade headboards and soft Egyptian cotton sheets complete the king-sized beds. Delicately scented, locally- made toiletries stock the bathroom and a complimentary welcome hamper will be waiting on arrival. So, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a glass of champagne as you relax in the outdoor bath. Cook delicious suppers over the fire pit or kick off your hiking boots and sip hot chocolate by the cosy wood burner after a busy day exploring.
Maverick tip: Make your stay extra special by taking advantage of bookable extras. You can order a delicious pre-prepared fire-pit meal in advance or book a private yoga session by the lake.
For sustainable luxury in the heart of Thomas Hardy country, book a stay at Farmstead Glamping. Nestled on the Hannam family’s idyllic working dairy farm, the retreat offers artisan shepherds’ huts and a one-of-a-kind barn conversion.
Both en suite huts – The Happy Hare and The Pleasant Pheasant – are heated to perfection by small wood burners and boast marvellous green views. Make the most of their well equipped kitchen dressers or soak away your stresses in their own private wood-burning hot tubs. Meanwhile, The Heron is a wildly romantic, tiny barn that has been immaculately outfitted with a king-sized bed, a movie projector and its very own outdoor copper bateau bath. All three properties are completely off-grid and powered by their own solar array, meaning you can enjoy your weekend away smug in the knowledge that you’ll be doing so in near carbon neutrality!
Maverick tip: Between May and September a small bell tent can be hired alongside The Pleasant Pheasant to sleep adventurous children (£35 / night). A blow-up mattress, bed linen and towels are all provided.
Photography credits (top to bottom): Alex Steele-Perkins, Jake Balston